Brussels, Dec 8 (IANS) Sufficient progress has been made in Brexit talks, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday, adding that it was paving the way for talks on the future of the UK-European Union (EU) relationship.
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Brussels earlier in the day following overnight talks on the issue of the Irish border, reports the BBC.
The Commission’s assessment was based on a Joint Report agreed by the negotiators of the Commission and the UK government, which was endorsed by May during a meeting with Juncker on Friday.
Juncker has confirmed that the Commission will now recommend that negotiations can go forward to phase two, reports the Guardian.
“We have now made the breakthrough we needed.”
He said May has assured him that the new text has the backing of the UK government.
He also said the Prime Minister has made it clear that she has made it a priority to protect peace in Northern Ireland.
“I will always be sad about this development but now we must start looking to the future.
“Today I am hopeful that we are now all moving towards the second phase of these challenging negotiations,’ Juncker added.
Meanwhile, May said the agreement was a “significant improvement” and is in “the best interests of the whole of the UK”, the Guardian reported.
“The deal will guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and of UK citizens in the EU.”
She said those living in the UK will have their rights enshrined in UK law and will be able to live their lives as they have done so far.
“There will be no hard border in Ireland.”
May said that she expects to win the endorsement of the 27 member-states next week to proceed to phase two of the negotiations, following the recommendation of the Commission.
The UK is set to leave the EU by March 2019